Health Information Management

Health information exchange advancements

HIM-HIPAA Insider, April 21, 2009

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Q: Is there any recent information available regarding the prevalence of health information exchanges (HIE)? I know that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides incentives for HIE development.

A: On April 1, HIMSS released the results of its HIE Common Practices Survey, which included 21 participants/HIEs that have exchanged healthcare information for at least six months. These HIEs most often exchanged lab results and prescriptions for inpatient, outpatient, and physician practice offices.

Although the exact number of operational HIEs is unknown, the 21 survey participants are thought to represent a significant number of HIEs when HIMSS administered the survey in late 2008, according to the press release. Ninety percent of the survey participants work for nonprofit organizations.

One of the major survey findings was that HIEs are formed by community involvement and provider leadership. The survey found that HIEs had the common purpose of improving patient care and efficiency while reducing the rise of healthcare costs. Sixty percent of survey participants stated that they depend on grants and contracts for long-term sustainability. Sixty percent also stated that they allow patients to opt in or opt out. Eighty-five percent stated they have considered interoperability with other HIE organizations at the state or federal level, according to the survey.



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